Dancehall Artist . Producer . Engineer . Artist Development
Writer, producer and dancehall artist Philando “Runksie” Hill is Bermuda’s true veteran-pioneer to reggae music.
‘Through music my purpose is to spread a positive message throughout the world. Vibe Tribe will define every message!’ – Philando ‘Runksie’ Hill
Born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey and in Bermuda “Runksie” Philando Hill has had the best of both worlds being born to parents of two different countries. Runksie grew up in the music industry in Englewood, the home of the Sugar Hill Gang, Regina Bell and Eddie Murphy. He inspiration in music started by the likes of Curtis Blow, LL Cool J, KRS One, Rappers Delight and surprisingly Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. He wrote his first rap verse at the age of 9 years old. And at that time “Runksie says,” “I got a taste of reggae from my father because he used to play Bob Marley on these 8 track tapes , so I was hearing this reggae music while I was writing my own lines and learning to flow with the music.”
However, it was after moving to Bermuda that Hill became interested in Reggae music and the works of Bob Marley. In his early teens he began chatting, as well as imitating Yellowman, Josey Wales, Charlie Chaplin and Papa San, the Jamaican artist that had inspired me the most. During this time, Runksie was on the sound system “Spider Hifi”, where he received the name Ranks. Then the name was Daddy Ranks after another artist came on the scene named Junior Ranks. Then again it was changed to Daddy Runksie and finally Runksie. After a year he progressed to a larger sound, Magnum Hi Power where he was groomed with the likes of Shorta Ranks and Pata Ranks. Two top dancehall artist in Bermuda at the time. Although Magnum Hipower provided him the necessary outlets for exposure, Runksie felt the need to expand and further himself with a business approach which took him to Dub City Records.
To stay ahead of the competition, writing lyrics became more frequent and he found it difficult being the only toaster for the sound. However, this challenge motivated him more so he took over the Dub City Sound System and changed the name to Dub City International. Runksie earned an enormous amount of respect from his peers and especially his manager, who offered to finance his talents in the music business.
It was then in 1987, he got his first break to form a label under Dub City Records. It was also in that same year he wrote and produced Bermuda’s First 12 inch reggae dancehall single, “Pirate Population.” It was recorded in New York which was well received although promotion was minimal.
Soon after, came another song titled “Emily Take It” which was inspired by a tropical storm that hit Bermuda as well as a “Summertime.” He laughs, “that was just a joke tune for the people to enjoy and relate to.” Extensive amount of airplay was given by Bermuda’s main radio ZBM1340. In 1989 Runksie flew back to NYC and recorded two more singles “Material Minded” and “Education is A Must” featuring Jango Thriller on Gyasi Records, which was released on a various artist album. While in NY he also performed in several dances with artist like “Sluggy, Trevor Sparks, Shelly Thunder, Red Fox, Naturally, Lloydie Stiff, Super C,Peter Metro, Shaggy, who at that time were still in high school.
After returning to Bermuda, he began working on Bermuda’s first an only ever dancehall album titled ” Our Time now”. Continuing his rise to the top, he then released “Watch de Ride”, also produced by Gyasi Records in 1991, joined with a music video produced by Al & Chrifa. From this he gained much exposure and opened shows for several major artists like Super Cat, Garnett Silk,Lt. Stitchie, Third World, Capleton, Shabba Ranks, Sister Carol, Yellowman, Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs – to name a few.
After graduating from Anderson College in South Carolina in 1990 he enrolled in The Art Institute for Audio and Video Engineering in Florida in 1993. By this time he had formed his own record label Vibe Tribe Records and Productions. Two years later he established Bermuda’s first Dubplate cutting facility and recording studio known as “VT Dub Factory” where almost every sound in Bermuda has recorded such as Soul Jah One, Magnum Force, Genesis, PlayBwoy, Awesome as well as international sounds and artist such as Luciano, Beenieman, Bounty Killa, Third World, Beres Hammond, Jah Cure, Sizzla, King Addies, Stonelove, LP, Snoop Dog ,Busta Rhymes and more.
Runksie’s last release was an ep titled “Reggae Ambassador” on Vibe Tribe Records which features Clinark and Jahstice Reggae Movement. The cd continues to receive good airplay in Europe, Africa and Japan. “Cant Let Go”, One Love One Heart, are also favorites on the cd.
Presently the soft spoken Daddy Runksie, now known as “Runksie”or “RunksieRighteous” resides in Smiths Bermuda, where he continues to contribute to Bermuda’s music but is very low-key! Thirty years in the business has taken him to level of professionalism far beyond other artist and producers in Bermuda, and he gives thanks to God for influencing him and using him as a vessel of Edutainment.